Differentiation of overweight from normal weight young adults by postprandial heart rate variability and systolic blood pressure

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Introduction: Obesity and cardiovascular disease are inextricably linked and the health community’s response to the current epidemic of adolescent obesity may be improved by the ability to target adolescents at highest risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the future. Overweight manifests early as autonomic dysregulation and current methods do not permit differentiation of overweight adolescents or young adults at highest risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Aim: This study was designed to test the hypothesis that scaling exponents motivated by nonlinear fractal analyses of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) differentiate overweight, otherwise healthy adolescent/young adult subjects at risk for developing prehypertension, the primary forerunner of cardiovascular disease. Materials and Methods: The subjects were 18-20year old males with Body Mass Index (BMI) 20.1-42.5kg/m2. Electrocardiographic inter-beat (RR) intervals were measured during 3h periods of bed rest after overnight fasting and ingestion of 900Cal high-carbohydrate and high-fat test beverages on separate days. Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA), k-means cluster and ANOVA analyses of scaling coefficients α, α1, and α2, showed dependencies on hourly measurements of systolic blood pressure and on premeasured BMI. Results: It was observed that α value increased during the caloric challenge and appears to represent metabolically-induced changes in HRV across the participants. An ancillary analysis was performed to determine the dependency on BMI without BMI as a parameter. Cluster analysis of the high-carbohydrate test beverage treatment and the high-fat treatment produced grouping with very little overlap. ANOVA on both clusters demonstrated significance at p<0.001. We were able to demonstrate increased sympathetic modulation of our study group during ingestion and metabolism of isocaloric high-carbohydrate and high-fat test beverages. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate significantly different clustering of α, α1, and α2 and Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) with respect to normal, overweight and obese BMI.

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